Exodus Reflections

These are notes collected from studying Exodus with Matt Lantz and Matt Roefer. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!

Exodus = Our Christian Walk

I find Exodus one of the best pictures of our Christian walk:

  1. Start enslaved/oppressed by sin (= Israel enslaved by Egypt)
  2. Jesus comes on the scene to do signs and wonders pointing the fact that we should not dwell with sin (= first 9 plagues)
  3. Jesus’ blood covers our sins and finally make a break with the power of sin (= Passover / 10th Plague)
  4. We are baptized in the Spirit to begin our journey (= them baptized in the cloud before going into the Red Sea)
  5. We are baptized in water to walk out this break from our old sinful past (= Red Sea)
  6. This leads us to singing and praise (= Song of Moses and Miriam)
  7. We are nourished through the desert by God’s word (= Manna, see Matt. 4:4)
  8. We are nourished through the desert by God’s Spirit (= water from rock)
  9. When we seek more than God’s word and Spirit we fall into deception and sin (see Num. 21)
  10. We are being led unto God’s ultimate paradise: new heavens and earth (= Israel led by God in the wilderness, toward Canaan / Promised Land)

Also: see Moses Points to Jesus.

Exodus = A work of God, not us

I’m also really struck by how much Exodus was a work of God.

The work the people did:

  • put blood on the doorpost and feast (where God would save them)
  • ask Egyptians for goods (and God would give them favor)
  • walk through the Red Sea (where God would miraculously open it and blind Egyptians)
  • follow Moses

I think it can be summed up well in: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Ex. 14:14).

Now think of the contrast scenario – when Sin/Egypt was the boss: they had to work, and work, and work some more!

God instituting Sabbath (which speaks ultimately to relying/trusting His work alone) was a contrast to Egypt where they had no option to rest. Now they have a choice: will you try to work it out or rest in God’s work? Before, they only could work because of the oppression of Egypt (symbolizing sin)

Too often we/me strive and strive. This message is counter to our culture but one we need to come back to often! To truly learn to be still before the Lord and let him fight for us and let Him fight our battles. Makes me think of when Israel defeats Amalek only when Moses holds up his hands- He is truly completely in control!

Exod. 7-8: Counterfeit Power

I found it really interesting how the magicians pulled off the first two plagues “by their secret arts” (Exodus 7-8). Thought this was interesting considering the new age and occult rising in popularity nowadays, and of course this is nothing new. Reminds me that there is truly “nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

This event is also recounted in the NT. See 2 Tim 3:8-9. But I love that even though false and counterfeit signs/wonders happen, Aaron’s snake still swallowed the other snakes. In other words…Gods signs/wonders always (eventually) show themselves more powerful than the counterfeit ones.

Exod. 19: A Chosen Nation; A Kingdom of Priests

Exod. 19:4-6 really jumped out at me… “You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles wings (which we have been talking about recently) and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples for all the earth is mine and you shall be to me a kingdom of priest and a holy nation.”

There interestingly seem to be a lot of if/then statements. The Lord has an expectation that IF Israel/we follow him and obey then He will bless them with a specific promise or covenant. See the same theme in the next chapter…

Exod 20:5-6 “You shall not bow down to them or serve them for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands who love me and keep my commandments.”

In some ways, without the totality of scripture if you only take these segments you could see how one could get quite a works based salvation…

Now open your Bible to 1 Pet 2:9. See anything similar to Ex 19:4-5?

It is restating those promises but now applying them to the church. And here’s the big point: it was conditional and Israel didn’t meet that condition. In fact no one does. Except 1 PERSON!! So 1 Pet 2 says that Jesus fulfilled the conditions perfectly. And we Christians are covered in Him, so we receive all the promises of Ex 19:4-5 on the basis of JESUS’ righteousness, not ours.

Exod 20: Love of God & People

In the 10 commandments, we have 2 groups: (Commandments 1-4 seem focused on direct ways to love God // Commandments 5-10 address how to love others, which indirectly also shows love for God). Thus, we can think more biblically about what it means to love neighbors.

Specifically, in Exodus 20:

  1. honor those in authority over you (parents, especially mentioned here)
  2. don’t murder (Jesus explains that it goes to the heart level and not even wanting harm to others – Matt. 5)
  3. don’t commit adultery (in other words, reserve sexuality to husband-wife…Jesus explains that this includes your thought-life…see Matt 5)
  4. don’t steal – this shows love to others by not taking from them what doesn’t belong to you (it also shows that it is implied God sees that we do have individual ownership of different things – which is one OF MANY reasons socialism ideas are not founded upon Bible)
  5. don’t lie to others – promote truth
  6. don’t covet other’s property — I think this is a big one today – we think it’s unfair we don’t have what others have…some have even falsely called this “justice” that all have the same thing…not true…we are to be content with what we have, and recognize that different people will have different things, some even better than what we have (again, this is contrary to socialism).

OK…so those are 6 concepts to help us think through some of what God means by loving our neighbor. Of course there is more (in fact, Lev. 19 gives a lot of good stuff on that…coming soon, Lord willing!). But I fear that so many can parrot the words “love your neighbor” but don’t look to the Bible to capture some of what God means by that.

If we started, for instance, with these things, and all sought to do this in a way to glorify God…we would have love of neighbors beyond our wildest dreams. Unfortunately, we go beyond these things, and sometimes neglect these, or re-define them. So now socialism, for instance, is related to “love of neighbors” but I believe the fundamental principles of socialism go against the concept of don’t steal and covet.

Let’s let God define the concepts, not us. If that makes sense.

Exod 21: God’s Governance

God’s governance and principles for governance are so much better than human ideals.


  • Ex. 21:16: “Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death.” – thus, God outlawed in the strongest terms a kidnapping form of slavery among his people (New Testament says something similar)
  • Ex. 21:27: “If he [a master] knocks out the tooth of his slave, male or female, he shall let the slave go free because of his tooth.” – in other words, God did not tolerate abuse in slavery.
  • The reason for slavery outlined in Exodus seems largely for economical reasons. Someone has no money to offer, so can sell himself (like an indentured servant). In fact, there are provisions for becoming a permanent slave if a slave thought his arrangement was good (see Ex. 21:6)
  • God allowed for justice (“eye for eye”) to ensure fairness. But Jesus shows how people’s corrupt hearts made this into “wanting” to exact revenge. We “get” to payback. Instead of we “should” have retribution to help curb bad behavior (Matt. 5:38-39)
  • I could go on…but there is so much wisdom in these principles. Thankfully, the founding fathers of America really took these principles seriously – arguably more so than any other country has (not that they got it perfect). But I think that has brought a lot of structure for blessing, because we have godly principles and concepts of governance. But we still miss it in U.S.! If only we went back to the principles of God’s word for governance.
  • To be clear – I brought up the slavery passages as an example that is a hot-button issue, and many people (wrongly) assume the Bible endorsed the Antebellum South slave practices of America. But when you read what the Bible actually says you see that it condemns such practices in strong terms, and does not endorse a kidnapping-of-people or abusing-people slavery in the least. And even what it does allow within slavery largely would fit into the category of “polygamy” – in other words, God allowed it and curbed the abuses, but never sets this forth as an ideal. God forbid. The ideal, instead, is found in Gen. 1-2. Notice: Adam was made to have 1 wife (not many). And Adam was to see animals and the land as under his dominion, not fellow human beings to become his slave. That’s the ideal.The thought about America following biblical principles in its founding was a separate thought. Not as specific to the issue of slavery (that’s a little more complex of a discussion, and obviously there is a good share of shame in America’s past on this). But on the way they thought through their founding documents. Studies have shown how many Biblical principles and Scriptures went into the formation of laws and ideals of American governance…many that people today are totally ignorant of, yet reap the blessings (for instance, the checks-and-balances structure of the 3 branches of government…based on Bible teaching that we are depraved and sinful and need checks and balances, as I understand)… even Frederick Douglas and MLK could point to America’s founding documents as ideals that are amazing in their concept, even though we haven’t lived up to them in some ways (and they urged Americans to live up to them more)
  • GREAT teaching on the subject of slavery and the Bible: https://youtu.be/EUOsBQYuZ9g

Exod 24: God’s Majesty

Exodus 24:17: “Now the appearance of the glory of God was like a devouring fire on top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel.” Let us stand in awe…

Exod 33: Moses’s Prayer

I was really inspired by Moses’s prayer in chapter 33…his genuine desire for God and to know His ways. Not much selfishness in this prayer, just wanting more of God and then you see how this is honored.

Moses: “now, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me your ways that I may know you and find favor in you.”

God: “my presence will go with you and I will give you rest”

Moses: “if your presence is not with us do not bring us from here.”

Moses: “please show me your glory.”  (Humble)

God: “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious and show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” (Sovereign)

Exod 34: The Lord’s Character

I am sure many of us are familiar with the common proclamation “the Lord is merciful, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” I was not aware God himself made this proclamation about His own character (Exodus 34:6-7)–really interesting!

European Leadership Forum’s Master Class: Is Roman Catholicism Preaching the Gospel? Why Not and Why It Does Matter

I attended most of these sessions live. I believe the speaker is one of the most knowledgeable about this topic around, and really has a heart for these people and matters. Please hear this out!

Is Roman Catholicism Preaching the Gospel?

  1. Same Words, Same Gospel? (35 min)
  2. Why “Roman” and Why “Catholicism?” (32 min)
  3. The Catholic Church & Pope Francis (30 min)
  4. Can Evangelicals Be United with Rome? (34 min)
  5. Communicating the Gospel to Roman Catholics (39 min)

Find more information at Master Class: Is Roman Catholicism Preaching the Gospel? Why Not and Why It Does Matter.

“How I approach ‘contradictions’ in the Bible” (from Tyndale House, Cambridge, June 22, 2021)

Though I’ve heard others address supposed contradictions in the Bible, and have heard people talk about the discrepancy between Matthew and Luke’s accounts of Judas’s suicide (compare Matt. 27:1-10 with Acts 1:18), I thought this was head-and-shoulders above any other treatment on the subject. I came away feeling even more confident that the Bible is God’s inerrant word, and only God could have written and put it together the way it is!

I hope you enjoy it as well!

How I approach ‘contradictions’ in the Bible (21 min)

Genesis Reflections

These are notes collected from studying Genesis with Matt Lantz and Matt Roefer. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!

Cursed Earth, Holy Covering

In Genesis (especially the earlier chapters), I’ve been really struck by a pattern of:

  • the cursed earth, in contrast to
  • the covering (especially of the sacrifice/life of another)


  • Adam was made from the earth.
  • But when sin entered, all was cursed (including the earth).
  • Adam and Eve tried to cover themselves with fig leaves from the earth (which I think is like doing our own “righteous works” to be saved),
  • but God needed to cover them in the life of another (in this case an animal, probably through the shedding of blood).


  • Cain brought an offering from the earth and it was not accepted.
  • But Abel brought a sacrificed animal that was accepted.


  • Noah was to give the earth rest.
  • It had to be covered by the flood of God’s judgment (and Noah and his family had to be covered by the ark).
  • After the flood, Noah gets drunk off of the earth. While the noble sons covered up his nakedness.

I think in all of this it shows the contrast of our fleshly works (the life of Adam/ the dust) amounting to “filthy rags” before God no matter how hard we try. Instead, we must be covered by the life of Christ, the ultimate sacrifice and the one who has “become our righteousness” (1 Cor. 1:30).

2,000 Years of History

Gen. 1-11 covers 2,000 years of history. This is the same amount of time covered by the entire rest of the Bible!

Abraham’s Virtue

I loved the very end of chapter 14 leading into 15 where he says he will follow the promise the Lord to the king of sodom in not taking anything not rightfully his even though he could have taken many many goods after a military defeat. This is followed by God coming to him in a vision saying, “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward is very great.”
Of course in his humanness he is still not very humble and says “yes, but God I still want a kid and I don’t have one!” But still what an amazing response by the Lord for His faithfulness!

Was Noah Righteous?

A few thoughts on Noah’s drunken ordeal after the flood:

  • first, the Bible (unlike all other historical texts) has no problem showing the shortcomings of EVERYONE. Seriously! Can you think of a major figure who doesn’t have flaws shown? For a time I thought Daniel’s flaws weren’t shown, but then I realized that even he is seen confessing his own sins in Dan. 9. So there is only 1 who shines as TRULY RIGHTEOUS…the God-Man Jesus!…and I’m quite sure that’s the point. It shows the divine design of the Bible. No one but God would show so many flaws of people. All other histories try to gloss those over and make people look better than they really are. But God wrote this, not man, so it’s different in that (and many other ways).
  • next, drunkenness is actually not spelled out as a sin by God until later. Saying that, I still think it was self-evident that it was against God’s design. And the exposing his nakedness part later I think also shows some shame in the act. So I do still think it shows his shortcomings.
  • consider that Noah just saw every person he knew (outside the 8 in his family) die. He was in charge of tending to animals and people in a treacherous boat experience for a year’s time. And then he is tasked with (re-)beginning life as they knew it on earth. Thankfully, God was with him in some incredible ways undoubtedly!! But it might paint some humanness on him to consider all this. In the backdrop of all that, I imagine it would be difficult NOT to want to become intoxicated. This by no means excuses the sin. Just paints some extra nuancing of the WHY he sinned, while not excusing it.
  • to me, the biggest significance of this story is the curse that followed. Notice who is cursed? Ham’s son (Canaan). Just as Noah’s son (Ham) became shameful to him, so Ham’s son (Canaan) would become shameful to Ham. We are told that Canaan would be the slave of Shem. This is HUGELY significant. Remember that this was written by Moses shortly before Israel was about to take over the land of Canaan. Israel came from Shem (think of the term “Semite” for Jew). And God told them that they would conquer Canaan. This seems to all go back to this episode in Gen. 9. Just as Canaan was given over to Shem, so the land of Canaan (where Canaan’s people later inhabit) would be given over to Israel (who came from Shem).


Regarding Race: See Answer in Genesis’s “The Origin of Races”
…I actually think even evolutionists might agree that from 1-2 came the many variations today. But note that Darwin, I believe, did teach/believe that Blacks were genetically inferior to Whites. That white people evolved from black people. A lot of racist policies and practices derived from this (including some of Hitler’s ideas in seeing the aryan race as the superior race). They’ve since tried to “pretty” this up in evolutionary biology, but it’s still pretty clearly there at the start. If only people would start with the Bible!

Genesis and Jesus

I’ve been totally blessed by Gen. 22; 24; and 27 — and just how much they point to Christ!! I don’t have time to tease out all the things I saw there, so I’ll just say a couple things on each (and hopefully leave others hungry for more themselves):

GEN. 22

  • Abraham takes his only son whom he loves = God took his only son whom he loved
  • On the third day he arose = Jesus resurrected 3 days later
  • Servants were alongside him = Jesus died with 2 men at his side
  • Ram with head in thicket (think of crown of thorns) becomes ultimate replacement = Jesus was the lamb with crown of thorns

GEN 24

  • The father sends his servant to find a bride for his son = God sends his Spirit to get a bride for Christ, His Son
  • The servant adorns her with gifts = The Spirit “beautifies” us
  • The servant brings her to the Son, and the Son meets her partway there = We will meet the Lord in the sky (1 Thes. 4)
  • She had to be related on his father’s side = Only those who are children of God the Father can also be called the Bride of Christ

GEN 27

  • Jacob receives the blessing of the father because he is covered by the “skin” of the favored son = when we receive the gospel, we are said to be covered in Christ…Christ as the “well pleasing Son” of the father covers us so that now God gives us his blessing of His presence (see Eph. 1)
  • Jacob was sinful, but covered by another, thus receiving the blessing = we are still sinful, but covered in Christ we are totally justified

I also think these chapters show the theme of the relationship with the land:

  • Gen. 22 – had to be a ram in the thicket that takes on the curse (think of the curse of Adam bringing thorns to the land)…think also of Jesus taking on the curse of sweat and thorns on his very head at the Cross! IT IS FINISHED!
  • Gen. 24 – there is mention, as I recall, about having a woman of “the land” (that is, the promised land)…he was not to choose someone of the “cursed land”, if you will
  • Gen. 27 – there is the theme of covering we talked about earlier. Adam and Eve could not be covered by the land, but had to be covered by the life of another (animal, in their case). Here, Jacob is covered by “Esau” in a sense

GEN 30-40

Oh man, reading I found Gen. 30 hilarious (at least for me looking in, definitely not for them living it) and strangely comforting. What a dysfunctional family!!! Soap opera drama on mega steroids. But the comforting part was that here we have the beginnings of the 12 tribes of Israel. God did so much through these tribes. These were his chosen people. And boy oh boy did they have major problems and couldn’t get along. It gives me hope when I look at the state of the church today (in a strange way maybe)!

Reminds me of all the issues seen in the 12 apostles. Again, all by design. God wants to use people who clearly have issues so that He gets the glory (instead of the people). Praise the Lord!

It’s crazy how much sex happens and how almost flippantly it’s mentioned with one person “going into another.” Especially as you get into chapters 30-40….
it’s a reminder of what culturally relevant book the Bible is today and how many of the same problems from 2,000 yrs ago are the same systematic issues dealt with today i.e. sibling rivalry, greed, murder, lying and deceit, infertility, power struggles, and of course so much more!

I remember years ago thinking about how I can’t fathom a society that thought polygamy was OK. But then recently I’ve seen articles about 3-somes adopting children, polyamorous 3-somes wanting to go to church (and a Christian writer who was not as dismissive of it as I thought he’d be). Or Eddie Murphy saying how he is considered a family man for helping to raise 10 kids (though it’s from multiple partners). Anyway…kind of eye-opening (sadly) to see that it really is not much more of a step from here into polygamy. Even though the Bible speaks against it (and it’s never a good situation when we read about it!)

GEN 45-50

In ch. 45 Joseph speaking about the sovereignty of God and His greater purposes. 45:5 “for God sent me here to preserve life.” 45:8 “so it was not you who sent me here but God.” Joseph continues this theme in chapter 50 when his brothers still fear he will hurt them after Jacob’s death and says essentially rest easy brothers, 5:20 “as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive as they are today.”

May we remember when people may be against or seem against us ultimately His plans and purposes will always prevail!! Gives a whole new perspective on difficulties/bad things happening to me. What a difference it makes to be steeped in God’s thoughts!!

Along the lines of Gen. 50:20, I LOVED reading Exodus 1:12 this morning:
The more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad.
I almost see it as a holy challenge and defiance to the schemes of Satan/Sin/Etc. that oppose us. I know this is one of the favorite passages of the persecuted church in China. May it be for us here in the U.S., too, Lord!


  • check this chart out: Joseph = Type for Jesus
  • There’s not a lot of really clear-cut sins seen in Joseph. Possible pride for the dreams. But I’d also say there was deceptive things said/done with his brothers (before revealing himself to them).

I Have Decided to Follow Jesus

This is a direct excerpt from Asia Harvest’s, “The Little-known Origins of a Famous Gospel Song from India”. I highly recommend you subscribe to their free newsletter and read / watch other testimonies from them:

The Little-known Origins of a Famous Gospel Song from India

Often, Christians are unaware of the origins of many of the songs we love to sing. In this brief email we would like to share the background of one famous: “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.” 

In the hills of northeast India live the Garo tribe, who number more than one million people. For centuries they were feared as a primitive head-hunting tribe, but in the most recent Indian census, over 95 percent of the Garo declared themselves to be Christians. Here is one reason why…

In the late 1800s, many missionaries came to the state of Assam in northeast India to spread the Gospel. They succeeded in converting a man named Nokseng, his wife, and his two children. Nokseng’s faith proved contagious, and many villagers began to accept Jesus. 

The village chief, angry at the prospect of losing control, summoned all the villagers. He demanded Nokseng’s family to publicly renounce their faith or face execution.

Moved by the Holy Spirit, Nokseng said: “I have decided to follow Jesus.”

Enraged at his refusal to deny Christ, the chief ordered his archers to shoot the two children. As both boys lay twitching on the ground, the chief asked, “Will you deny your faith? You have lost both your children. You will lose your wife also.”

But Nokseng replied: “Though no one joins me, still I will follow.”

The chief was beside himself with fury and ordered Nokseng’s wife to be shot with arrows. In a moment she joined her children in death. Now the chief said for the last time: “I will give you one more opportunity to deny your faith and live.” In the face of death, Nokseng did not waver, and made his final memorable statement:

“The cross before me, the world behind me. No turning back.”

He was killed like the rest of his family, but a miracle took place. The chief was moved by Nokseng’s faith and he wondered, “Why would Nokseng and his family die for a Man who lived in a far-away land some 2,000 years ago? This God must have remarkable power, and I too want to taste that faith.”

In a spontaneous confession, the chief declared, “I too belong to Jesus Christ!” When the crowd heard this from the mouth of their chief, the whole village accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior. Later, Nokseng’s words became a beloved song of the Garo Christians, and was later translated into English and sung around the world.

Forum of Christian Leaders’ Master Class: The Sexual Revolution

I’ve listened to parts 2, 4, & 5 of this series, and thought they were all excellent and very timely in engaging our current culture!

The Sexual Revolution